The situation in the ongoing refugee crisis is “difficult” and requires cooperation on a European level to deal with the root of the problem, Prime Minister Alexist Tsipras told Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders at the start of their meeting at Maximos Mansion in Athens on Sunday.
“It’s necessary to have a joint response to the refugee crisis and tackle the causes creating this crisis, which is the war in Syria,” Tsipras said, adding that the aim is to minimize refugee flows and crush the trafficking rings that exploit them.
He also spoke for the need to implement a “credible resettlement” mechanism directly from Turkey towards the European countries, so that no more lives will be lost in the Aegean.
On his side, the Dutch official said that as president of the EU council, his country is seeking European consultations on the management of the refugee crisis and agreed with the Greek premier on the need to effectively smash trafficking and change the resettlement process.
Koenders also commented on his visit to FYROM earlier today, during which he warned on the dangers of unilateral moves. The Netherlands support Greece’s position for a joint European stance on the basis of what has been agreed, he added.
During the visit to Skopje and his meeting with his counterpart, Nikola Poposki, Koenders stressed it is preferable to have more effective screening process for the refugees and migrants arriving into Europe than to close the Greek-FYROM borders.
“Some EU member-states are urging FYROM to close its borders with Greece. However, as we concluded, it is important to continue the process of European cooperation on the matter. It is much more important to have an effective border control than to close them,” he said.
The Dutch foreign minister also said that his country, which holds the EU presidency for the current 6 months, believes it is very important to hold talks with Austria, Greece and FYROM in order to find an effective solution for the refugee crisis.